Christian Long

Herbie Hancock: All Star Set

In TED Talks on May 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Reflection by ADITYA M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Herbie Hancock: All Star Set

I found this performance particularly interesting for a jazz performance. Although Hancock is a jazz artist, this piece had a classical feel to it. I am not a fan of classical or jazz music, but I liked parts of this performance. Hancock was playing an electric piano, and he changed the sound of the keys at different points in time, due to the digital effects on the keyboard. Not only did this add different instruments to the performance, it also added some interesting sounds.

I think this performance is unique because it was a mix of jazz and classical music. When Hancock was playing the piano without any digital effects, the song had a classical feel to it. The drummer Harvey Mason was playing the cymbals quite softly and the bass guitarist Marcus Miller was not doing anything too crazy at that part of the song. Then, when Hancock would change the sound of the piano and start to play more complex material, the drums and the guitar would get louder.

If it wasn’t for the electric piano and Hancock changing the sound of the keys, this performance wouldn’t have been all that great or unique at all. Judging the song by the parts that weren’t digitally changed, it seemed too slow and boring. I myself play the drums, and I was watching Mason softly tap the cymbals I felt this sort of feeling of uneasiness. I personally like rock and alternative music and I like to play the drums to my favorite rock tunes. I also love drumming to
rap/hip-hop songs. Therefore, I am used to playing loud stuff. If I were to play the drums to Hancock and Miller, I would have played it differently than Mason. However, that is only because of the way I play, and the type of music I play to. I understand that Mason obviously a different taste in music than I do, and he played to what he felt fit best. It’s not that what he played didn’t fit, but it wasn’t to my taste.

I played piano for a long time as well, but never really liked it very much and quit. Being exposed to the pop culture I didn’t like being limited to playing classical music. Right before I quit, however I listened to artists like Daniel Powter and OneRepublic. I then realized that piano can sound good. But I also saw how much skill you needed to play music as well as they did. Later on I got a teacher that taught me to play some popular music on the piano, but I still wasn’t very interested and I stopped playing the piano soon after. When I heard this performance It again reminded me of the classical music, but also showed a different side. The performance showed me how piano can sound “cool”, even when playing somewhat of a classical song. This performance got me thinking that with all the technology there is today, the piano doesn’t have to be played as it is.

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